LEARNING TO LOVE LIKE JESUS
“The art of life is in loving and listening to one another.”
“If we put others before ourselves—we are already abundantly rich.”
“I wish that people could love more.”
“I have been blessed by God … there is one reason … and that is to help others.”
Akiane, like most of God’s everyday missionaries, cultivates the practice of faith, kindness, forgiveness and compassion by focusing on the Lord and putting others first. Here are a few Akiane Kramarik paintings that speak of different types of love and compassion:
Of all the virtues taught throughout the Bible, none is so abundant as compassion and Godly love! Bearing another’s burdens is a high calling that Jesus modeled throughout his ministry.
What Is Compassion?
If you enjoy exploring the depths of a words meaning: Compassion is defined as an enigmatic and powerful emotion. UCADIA describes compassion as “…the physical synchronization of two people (or more) in the presence of one another in the present moment.” Hailing from the Latin stem compati, Compassion means to “suffer with” or to have “co-suffering.” To translate even further, Compassion means to have sympathy and empathy, even pity, for others. Paul put it simply in Galatians 6:2 when he said:
Below is a picture of Akiane in her studio at age 9 with her portrait of Jesus praying for our forgiveness before he was crucified. Akiane spoke on pity in her poem accompanying the painting “Father Forgive Them,” which read: “My cross is nailed into me / I pity the fingers that scourge my face…”. We often associate pity with a negative connotation, yet it often means that we are feeling, empathy, sorrow, and compassion for the suffering caused by others. Jesus believed this for the men who nailed Him to the cross. He knew they were blindly following orders and the pain they caused Him was not of their choice.
Jesus also showed compassion when He lived among his disciples and was unafraid to touch those stricken with leprosy, or be in the company of those thought less of by society, such as prostitutes and other outcasts. He reprimanded tax collectors and the religious elites who shunned the less fortunate. He admonished those, namely the Pharisees, who sought to do good deeds for the praise received rather than out of sheer compassion.
Jesus empathized with people. He was the living embodiment of his Father’s unconditional love. Race and economic status meant nothing to Him; Jesus always has and always will have time for everyone.
How to Love Like Jesus?
Jesus set the perfect standard that we often fall short of - yet for the sake of having compassion even for ourselves, we must remember He understands our imperfections, we make mistakes, and He realizes our human frailties. However, because of his grace and example we strive and do our best to be as compassionate, forgiving, and kind as He is. Jesus showed compassion not merely through words or His tears, but also demonstrating His love through his actions.
Compassion is the emotion that compels us to help others in need whether it is to give a few dollars to the homeless, run food drives and charities, let the exhausted woman skip ahead of you in line, are helpful to someone who has wronged you, or to hold a friend as their world crumbled around them. When you practice compassion, kindness, and forgiveness, you love as Jesus loves. Compassion brings people together through love and forgiveness. It is the golden rule in action as we intentionally remember to “Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31) by overcoming selfishness and ego and listening, loving and lending a hand.
Love your neighbor as you would yourself.
“Faith in action is love, and love in action is service.By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, with Jesus our Lord.”
By demonstrating loving kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, and compassion we allow the love of Jesus flow through us. We are called to love one another as we love ourselves. When we love ourselves with the same compassion as the Lord loves us, we begin to understand what Jesus said when he taught us to pray. Thy kingdom, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.